Damaged DNA Repair Formula discovered by researchers at IIT-H

One of the premier institutes of India, IIT Hyderabad in partnership with IIT Guwahati, has claimed that its researchers have unravelled working of a protein that repairs damaged DNA. The team has discovered the mechanism by which these repair proteins assemble when DNA is under threat. The researchers studied the action of one specific protein, called alkB homolog 3 (ALKBH3) and stumbled upon this positive result.

Crux of the Matter
  • With the increasing awareness about the impact of DNA damage, efforts were being made globally to understand how these repair proteins work.
  • The results of the study conducted by IIT-H researchers in collaboration with Arun Goyal, Professor at the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT-Guwahati, was recently published in Nucleic Acid Research, a peer-reviewed journal.
  • According to the reports, any damage to DNA is caused by the sudden appearance of a harmless mole to catastrophic diseases like cancer.
  • The finding is an output of both an academic exercise and therapeutic interventions.
  • One of the co-authors of the paper, Anindya Roy believes that the knowledge gained from these studies can be beneficial from a cancer edradication perspective.

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. Friedrich Miescher discovered DNA in 1869, although scientists did not understand DNA was the genetic material in cells until 1943. Prior to that time, it was widely believed that proteins stored genetic information.Every human being shares 99% of their DNA with every other human. More Info

IIT-Bombay Research Finds Evidence of River 'Saraswati'

According to new research by the Physical Research Laboratory in collaboration with IIT-Bombay has reported ‘unequivocal evidence’ of existence a perennial river ‘Saraswati’ on the plains of northwestern India which researchers find mentions in the ancient texts of Rig Veda. 

Crux of the Matter
  • The research has been published in the journal ‘Scientific Report’ of Nature Publishers which is in the public domain. 
  • According to the researchers, the river a flowed roughly along the course of the modern Ghaggar.
  • The scientists behind the study were Anirban Chatterjee, J S Ray and Anil Shukla of PRL, and Kanchan Pande from IIT-Bombay.
  • The research studied the temporal changes of sediment provenance along a 300 km stretch of the Ghaggar river basin using different dating methods.
  • The researchers provide evidence for the river Saraswati being perennial and its flow from the Higher Himalayas between 7,000 BC and 2,500 BC along which the Harappans had built their early settlements between 3,800 BC and 1,900 BC.
  • The decline of the Saraswati due to rapid drying-up of the channels led to the collapse of the Harappan civilization.
  • Research finds Saraswati’s sources in the glaciated regions of the Higher Himalayas, similar to the Ganga, Yamuna and Sutlej which is the only likely path.
  • The ancient course of present-day Ghaggar could have been through the distributaries of the mighty Sutlej River. 
  • Jyotiranjan S. Ray, explains that ‘the uninterrupted flow of the perennial Saraswati started 80,000 years ago, and continued until 20,000 years ago. Extreme aridity of the last glacial period diminished the river, only for it to regain its strength 9,000 years ago and flow freely for the subsequent 4,500 years.’

Indus Valley Civilisation or Harappan Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early civilisations of the region comprising North Africa, West Asia and South Asia. Its sites stretched from northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, and into western and northwestern India. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along with a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The civilisation’s cities were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and new techniques in handicraft. The large cities of Mohenjdaro and Harappa very likely grew between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals. Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated early in the 20th century. More Info

7000+ Students Drop out of IIT and IIITs in Last 5 Years

According to a recent statement by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the Lok Sabha on providing an exit option to students, 7248 students have dropped out from India’s premier engineering institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) & International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT).

Crux of the Matter
  • The exit option was proposed by the MHRD after which the IIT Council had left it to the individual institutes to take a decision.
  • The exit option allows students of IITs and IIITs to switch from BTech to BSc courses after the 2nd semester.
  • S Sadagopan, Director of IIIT-Bangalore said, “the exit option will leave a bad effect on the students switching from one course to another.”
  • IIIT-Hyderabad rejected the plan to implement the exit option. Its Director PJ Narayanan said, “IIIT closely monitors students’ performance, particularly in the first year and prepare them to cope comfortably in the 2nd year as well. Though we follow a flexible learning approach; the exit option might help some struggling students.
  • India has 24 IIITs wherein 19 runs on the public-private partnership model.
  • The MHRD believes that a decent job offer is one of the prime reasons for Postgraduate students to quit courses.

Indian Institute of Technology has been set up with a vision to contribute to India and the World through excellence in scientific and technical education and research; to serve as a valuable resource for industry and society, and remain a source of pride for all Indians. The concept of the IITs originated even before India gained independence in 1947. After the end of the Second World War and before India’s independence, Sir Ardeshir Dalal foresaw that the future prosperity of India would depend not so much on capital as on technology. He, therefore, proposed the setting up of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. He persuaded the US government to offer hundreds of doctoral fellowships under the Technology Cooperation Mission (TCM) program. However realizing that such steps can not help in the long run for the development of India after it gains independence, he conceptualized institutes that would train such workforces in the country itself. This is believed to be the first conceptualization of IITs. More Info